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We are Jessie & Nathan from Madison and just (8 days ago) brought back an attractively-priced 2001 silver Prius from suburban Chicago, where it was on sale as a Certified Used Toyota. We had just inherited my mother's 1991 Saturn SL1, with its 12-year-old manual transmission, but I found myself wanting a less delicate and more durable (and less my mother's favorite, honestly) car to break in. The Prius was a good fit for a number of reasons, although it is not at its best, obviously, in the protracted snowy & freezing Madison winters. (I haven't yet tried taping the front grille but am curious....)

Since it's much more convenient for me to take the bus to work -- parking costs downtown are prohibitive, and the bus is at least as fast & direct as a car would be -- Nathan has been doing the lion's share of the driving. Our average mileage has been in the 30's -- oh well -- but we expect it to improve with the weather. More distressing is the number of washes it has required over the course of a week (3!). Is that figured into the energy calculations? ;)

This has been an adventure for me so far. When I was young I dreamed of owning an electric car -- I had a picture of the GM "Impact" prototype on my bedroom wall -- but I think I also figured I'd be as rich as all the people I saw on TV, and living in California. As far as Wisconsin goes, the Prius is a pretty good compromise. The cars do seem to be insanely popular in Madison, particularly downtown, vying for parking spaces with Jettas and Ford Foci. One even cropped up in my parents' snooty neighborhood.

Now we just need to find a way to convert the old Saturn to run on propane...

We were very happy to find this board and appreciate all the suggestions and frankness. I suspect we will be posting more questions as time goes on...

Jessie & Nathan
2001 silver Prius
 

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Mileage

Hi,
How many miles do you have on the car and how far do you drive it each day? Since it is a 2001, I am assuming that it has been driven enough to break in the engine and drive train.
If you are doing a lot of short trips, your mileage will suffer as the first 5 to 10 minutes get the worst miles per gallon. Also make sure that the tire pressure is not too low, especially if you have the original tires. Most owners keep the tire pressure at 42 pounds for the front and 40 for the rear. This helps to increase the gas mileage and the life of the tires.
One last thing, try to avoid using the defrost setting as this tends to prevent the engine from shutting down.
Good luck with your Prius!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The tires are definitely low right now. Still, we broke 75 on the MD today... First warm day we've had since getting the car. It's amazing what a difference that makes. Tried running it with defrost off when it was colder, but it's been between 10 and 16 degrees Fahrenheit most days, and I guess we just breathe a lot...

The car had 42k on it already. I suspect that's been enough to break it in... :D

- N
 

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Wow...when I hear all this speculation on how cold weather adversely affects the gas mileage...makes me glad I live in California! We're due for a few BIG rainstorms today through next week, so this will be the first time I get to test it out in rainy conditions.
 
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